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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/17/21

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks donate yesterday’s salaries to The Players Alliance for Jackie Robinson Day; rival executives weigh in on the Yankees’ slow start; Trevor Stephan might return to the Yankees after all.

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Photo File/MLB Photos via Getty Images

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: The last two days, Major League Baseball has been celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, in which every player in the league wears number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. Joining more than 250 players throughout the league, Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks announced that they will be donating their salaries from last night’s game to The Players Alliance. For those unaware, The Players Alliance is a non-profit organization of Major Leaguers, both present and former, working to improve representation of Black Americans in the league.

Yahoo Sports | John Harper: Harper talked with some scouts and executives throughout the league, asking them the question, “What’s wrong with the Yankees?” The results were fairly mixed: one scout said that the Yankees reminded him of last year’s Mets, a talented team that could not get out of its own way, while multiple executives said that the team’s lack of confidence in the rotation may have gotten in their heads and put extra stress on the offense. All agree, however, that the Yankees should ultimately be fine in the regular season, even if they do not end up as the juggernaut that many expected them to be.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: This past winter, the Yankees lost two pitchers in the Rule-5 Draft, Garrett Whitlock and Trevor Stephan, the former going to Boston, the latter to Cleveland. While Whitlock has been dominant in limited appearances for the Red Sox, Stephan has struggled out of the gate, giving up four runs in four innings. If his performance continues in this vein, the Yankees might see at least one of their former prospects returned to them, much like shortstop Kyle Holder was at the end of spring training.